GOGH, Vincent van
(b. 1853, Groot Zundert, d. 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise)

Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night

September 1888, Arles
Oil on canvas, 81 x 66 cm
Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo

Catalogue numbers: F 467, JH 1580.

In a letter to his sister Wilhelmina of September 1888 van Gogh described two paintings he had just done of cafés at night. One was a working-class café, where 'poor night wanderers sleep'; the other was a fashionable café in the Place du Forum in the town centre, painted under a brilliant starry sky. The former was painted in virulent reds and greens, clashing yellows and oranges; in the latter van Gogh has used intense and cheerful yellows and blues. These paintings indicate that van Gogh was indeed responsive to the urban subject-matter of modern Parisian artists.